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The pros and cons of a single vendor environment

You have made a statement that there are pros and cons to choosing a single vendor in a SAN infrastructure. Can you tell me your thoughts on these?

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The pros and cons of choosing a single vendor for a firm's SAN infrastructure comes down to flexibility vs. lock-in.

There is no right or wrong in either. It depends on the firms strategies and on the relationship and trust build up between the vendor and the company.

Here's a short list of pros and cons:

Pro:

  • Single negotiation partner
  • It's easier to build trust in a single vendor
  • Formal procedures (buying process, delivery, support) are set up once and stay in place
  • No finger pointing between several vendors in case of issues
  • Less training for own staff needed as it can focus on one product line
  • Lesser risk that new products will have a bad impact on the running systems, or that they won't be compatible.

    Con:

  • Loss of flexibility
  • Dependence on the "roadmap" and the marketing decisions of the vendor
  • Less power in price negotiations
  • Threat of decreasing market overview (who else offers what)
  • New technology like OS, switches, protocols might not be supported or it might be supported late or the support might be insufficient
  • You're stuck with the set of solutions the vendor offers to address certain issues like backup, disaster and recovery.

    This list is certainly not complete, but it shows some of the major pros and cons when it comes down to the question of whether to choose a single vendor for SAN. Personally I would prefer a single vendor if that vendor could provide a working solution that delivers all needed requirements including the requirements of an acceptable ROI on the infrastructure. This is basically because I believe that a smooth operating environment is worth more than the flexibility. But it has to be clear that the vendor can provide such a smooth operating environment in the long run.


    Editor's note: Do you agree with this expert's response? If you have more to share, post it in one of our .bphAaR2qhqA^0@/searchstorage>discussion forums.


    This was first published in October 2003

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